HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Huber Heights city council is taking steps to study and improve the relationship between the police department and the people. This week they approved buying body cameras for every officer and creating a citizen review board.
Mayor Jeff Gore says, “Yes we’re diverse, but it really takes engagement and understanding and cooperation within those different races and ethnicities and backgrounds.” Mayor Gore says the city of Huber Heights is proud of its diversity, but he wants to do more to ensure people from different backgrounds can understand what others have been through.
The death of George Floyd prompted one couple to ask about the city’s policies and procedures. Mayor Gore says, “The brainchild of the commission really came out of that Google Meet with Mr. and Mrs. Stevens.”
The nine-member Culture and Diversity Assistance Action Commission was created to facilitate discussions about race and equality. Mayor Gore says it will be driven by the people. “I know this council is going to fully support this new commission. And will make sure they have a budget in the funding to help do what we really want them to do.”
Additionally, the city approved the purchase of more than 50 police body cameras for about $190,000 so that every officer will film interactions. The plan was set for 2021, but was quickly moved up. City Manager Rob Schommer says, “It is good to know that we are in a position to be forward thinking, but also in a position to have the support from our citizens and from our elected officials to be able to put those plans into action.”
The cameras will arrive next month. The citizen commission is still being formed. Four members were already appointed and the city council is taking applications for the remaining five spots. Mayor Gore says, “We all experience this world differently, and I want to surround myself with people smarter than me, with different experiences than me, because that’s how I learn and that’s how I grow.”
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